News

Kagame speaks out on Kikwete's call for negotiations with FDLR rebels

Share Bookmark Print Rating
Rwanda President Paul Kagame. Photo/File

Rwanda President Paul Kagame. Photo/File 

By EMMANUEL RUTAYISIRE, Special Correspondent

Posted  Monday, June 10   2013 at  18:32
SHARE THIS STORY

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda has described calls for the country to negotiate with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) as “utter nonsense.”

Speaking on Monday at the Rwanda Military Academy (Nyakinama) in the northern part of the country where he was attending a graduation ceremony of 45 officers, President Kagame said:

“I kept quiet about this because of the contempt I have for it. I thought it was utter nonsense. Maybe it was due to ignorance but if this is an ideological problem for anyone to be thinking this way, then it better stay with those who have it.

"We will have another time to deal with this. As Rwandans, being who we are, achieving what we want to achieve for ourselves is not a myth, its real”.

The call to talk to FDLR was made by Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete at a meeting of Heads of State from the Great Lakes Region in Addis Ababa, on the sidelines of last month’s African Union Summit in Ethiopia.

Kikwete’s remarks have soured the already shaky relations between the two neighbouring countries with foreign affairs ministers from both countries issuing statements.

Kikwete had suggested that Rwanda should consider direct talks with the FDLR rebels since the military option didn’t seem to be working.

President Kikwete also urged Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni to talk to the Allied Democratic Forces and the National Army for the Liberation of Uganda, as well as asking DR Congo’s President Joseph Kabila to talk to the M23 rebels and other forces operating in eastern Congo.

This is the first time President Kagame is personally responding to President Kikwete’s remarks even though both presidents attended the Addis Ababa meeting.

Tanzania has said it is not going to apologise to Kigali over the statements.

The remarks have triggered a diplomatic row between the two countries although observers say it is a pointer to the fact that despite the cordial relationships, Presidents Kagame and Kikwete have never been friends.

The FDLR is a sensitive issue in Kigali because of the former’s role in the 1994 genocide as well as its continued security threat to Rwanda. The militia draws most of its members from the genocidaires who participated in the 1994 mass killings.


Bralirwa, TBL, EABL beer wars leave EA investors spoilt for choice

Stepped path of the upper part of Thula Fort. AKAA / Cemal Emden

YEMEN: Thula Fort Restoration

View along Sathorn Road. AKAA / Patrick Bingham-Hall

THAILAND: The Met Tower